ProfRecord dishes out the dirt on College professors

ProfRecord, a grade distribution database, is now up and running. It was created by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) student organization at the request of the Student Government Association (SGA), free of cost by ACM, with the intention of replacing the old subscription professor information database, Pick-a-Prof.

ProfRecord allows students to look up grade distributions as well as comments regarding professors at the College. Comments are subject to approval by the ProfRecord administration. Information in the ProfRecord database dates back to Spring 2005.

Most free, online professor databases do not offer grade distributions. ProfRecord also has a comments section that allows students to provide feedback about specific professors.

Steve Link, SGA vice president of Academic Affairs, officially announced the fully operational status of ProfRecord at the Nov. 1 SGA meeting. Link said the project was undertaken to reach out to the campus.

SGA officials said the creation of ProfRecord has been difficult.

According to S. Lee Whitesell, former SGA vice president of Academic Affairs, ProfRecord has been a work-in-progress since February 2005.

Contract discrepancies made SGA seek an alternative to Pick-a-Prof. Whitesell said that in exchange for a sum ranging from $500 to $1,000, Pick-a-Prof agreed to grant all students at the College unlimited access to the database.

Additionally, Pick-a-Prof was granted access to grade records of professors from the office of Records and Registration at the College in order to compile information for its database.

In early Fall 2005, Whitesell received notification that Pick-a-Prof was asking for fees from students at the College. Students had been previously granted free, unlimited access.

“(The Pick-a-Prof contact) informed me that the volume of (College) students who had been using the system had become too great and that the company needed to charge,” Whitesell said.

Whitesell was also told that continued usage of Pick-a-Prof would come at a price of $10,000. Whitesell requested an invoice to account for the added costs, and was promised one, but it never came.

Whitesell said that even though the decision was made to halt business with Pick-a-Prof, it was still legally entitled to records from the office of Records and Registration.

“I asked Records and Registration to do what they could to deny the company access to our records, but . the law demanded otherwise,” Whitesell said.

Whitesell contacted ACM in hopes of creating an in-house professor database system. After the project was deemed feasible, ACM requested compensation, and Whitesell responded by funding an ACM social event through the SGA fundraising line.

However, the project was not ready by Spring 2006 registration.

This year, after Link had assumed Whitesell’s former office, the project was delayed again – this time over discrepancies in the original agreement between SGA and ACM. Link, Whitesell and ACM president Kate Lynch met and a new agreement was reached.

ProfRecord is complete and running without problems thus far.